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US donates emergency response equipment to Dominica

by: Dominica Vibes News - January 12, 2017
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The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) now has additional equipment to aid in its response to disasters, thanks to a donation from the United States Southern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program.

The donation worth approximately six hundred and seventy thousand dollars includes two bobcats, two tower lights and two water pumps.

US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Linda Taglialatela presented the equipment to Minster for Justice, Immigration and National Security Rayburn Blackmoore by the at the Office of Disaster Management in Jimmit on Thursday.

U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), located in Florida, is one of nine unified Combatant Commands in the Department of Defense. It is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation in Central America, South America and the Caribbean (except U.S. commonwealths, territories, and possessions).

Ambassador Taglialatela said she enjoys being able to demonstrate the US’ partnership with Dominica and officially handover equipment to help the Government of Dominica to more efficiently assist its employees during a national disaster.

“Dominica and the United States share a long history of friendship, cooperation and ties that unite our people and this donation is a reflection of that relationship,” she said.

This is not the U.S. Southern Command’s first donation to Dominica. In 2004, it donated the one million dollar emergency operation center and warehouse at the ODM. This centre was further enhanced in 2015 during the US Navy Comfort Ship’s visit with the establishment of a security post and fencing for the facility.

The US Ambassador to Dominica said in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, the US government responded by provided over four hundred thousand dollars in emergency supplies including hand tools, building materials, temporary shelters, chain saws, and wire tanks among other life-saving supplies.

The Ambassador informed that the Embassy’s Military Liaison Office also identified the need for equipment for clearing roads and having water pumps, hence the donation made today.

“These goods provided under the United States Southern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program and are intended to augment the supplies already on hand at the Office of Disaster Management,” Ambassador Taglialatela said.

The United States Southern Command, she informed, is in the process of designing, funding and building two additional disaster relief warehouses, one in Castle Bruce and the other in the Coutton Hill region near Portsmouth.

“The United States is pleased to continue our partnership with the Dominica Office of Disaster Management…and we look forward to future collaboration in support of Mr. Shillingford and his colleague’s impressive efforts to mitigate and prepare for potential disasters,” US Ambassador Taglialatela said.

In accepting the donation, Minster for Justice, Immigration and National Security Rayburn Blackmoore thanked the US government and Ambassador for its generous assistance to Dominica.

“Those pieces of equipment will assist us greatly in responding to disaster events. Over the past years, Your Excellency, we have seen an increase in events especially rain events which gives rise to landslide flooding and other secondary hazards that require such equipment to help us in clearing our roads, our drainage, roads, small waterways,” Minster Blackmoore stated.